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Wikileaks Breaks Wall of Secrecy on Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) - Financial Services Annex

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2014-06-19:
Today, WikiLeaks released the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex, which covers 50 countries and 68.2%1 of world trade in services. The US and the EU are the main proponents of the agreement, and the authors of most joint changes, which also covers cross-border data flow. In a significant anti-transparency manoeuvre by the parties, the draft has been classified to keep it secret not just during the negotiations but for five years after the TISA enters into force.

Despite the failures in financial regulation evident during the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis and calls for improvement of relevant regulatory structures 2, proponents of TISA aim to further deregulate global financial services markets. The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules which would assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals -- mainly headquartered in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt -- into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers. The leaked draft also shows that the US is particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow, which would allow uninhibited exchange of personal and financial data.

TISA negotiations are currently taking place outside of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) framework. However, the Agreement is being crafted to be compatible with GATS so that a critical mass of participants will be able to pressure remaining WTO members to sign on in the future. Conspicuously absent from the 50 countries covered by the negotiations are the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The exclusive nature of TISA will weaken their position in future services negotiations.

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The draft text comes from the April 2014 negotiation round - the sixth round since the first held in April 2013. The next round of negotiations will take place on 23-27 June in Geneva, Switzerland.

Current WTO parties negotiating TISA are: Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, which includes its 28 member states Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

China and Uruguay have expressed interest in joining the negotiations but so far are not included.

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[1] Swiss National Center for Competence in Research: A Plurilateral Agenda for Services?: Assessing the Case for a Trade in Services Agreement, Working Paper No. 2013/29, May 2013, p. 10.

[2] For example, in June 2012 Ecuador tabled a discussion on re-thinking regulation and GATS rules; in September 2009 the Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, convened by the President of the United Nations and chaired by Joseph Stiglitz, released its final report, stating that "All trade agreements need to be reviewed to ensure that they are consistent with the need for an inclusive and comprehensive international regulatory framework which is conducive to crisis prevention and management, counter-cyclical and prudential safeguards, development, and inclusive finance."

Read the Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) - Financial Services Annex

Read the Analysis Article - Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) - Financial Services Annex

Recommended reading For Comment AFL-CIO Media Outreach Department, 202-637-5018 Josh Goldstein JGoldstein@aflcio.org Jeff Hauser jhauser@aflcio.org Gonzalo Salvador gsalvador@aflcio.org Celeste Drake, Trade and Globalisation Policy Specialist cdrake@aflcio.org
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives https://www.policyalternatives.ca National Office: tel: 613-563-1341 fax: 613-233-1458 ccpa@policyalternatives.ca
Our World is Not for Sale http://www.ourworldisnotforsale.org/
Public Services International http://www.world-psi.org/en/ Tel: +33 (0)4 50 40 64 64Fax: +33 (0)4 50 40 73 20 E-mail:psi@world-psi.org Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer daniel.bertossa@world-psi.org
Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division https://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=1223 gtwinfo@citizen.org
Joseph E. Stiglitz Chair of the Commission of Experts of the President of the United Nations General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, Nobel Prize winner, and professor at Columbia University http://www.josephstiglitz.com/ Phone: (212) 854-0671 Fax: (212) 662-8474 jes322@columbia.edu Public Submissions

The only avenue TISA negotiators offer for public input is via public submissions. Each country has their own method for handling submissions. Below are the public submissions from the biggest proponents of TISA.

Read the Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) - Financial Services Annex

Read the Analysis Article - Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) - Financial Services Annex

 

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